El Conuco Farmer’s Market

Every Saturday during the summer and fall months, local vendors set up tables on an empty lot at a central location on Paseo Boricua. Other vendors from the community sell non-produce items such as handcrafts and jewelry. The Farmer’s Market is not only an opportunity for members of the community to buy fresh produce, it is an opportunity to take ownership of their neighborhood.

Which ones are yours?

By Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center Garden Team

 

This weekend, as many gathered in parks and prepared to go to the lake, the PRCC’s Farmers’ Market remained open. Getting ready for the grill, garlic flew off the shelves and the last of our strawberries were a delight to those, who after one bite, bought what we were able to harvest this week. On Sunday, one of our garden team members learned more about how to cook beets from a resident debating with another on the best way to cook them and the differences between the red and orange varieties. On getting a whiff of sofrito, community residents braved investment in the Puerto Rican cooking paste with others, preordering for next week and assuring us they will remind their friends.

Community residents, when aiming to buy local, remember Conuco and Mural Farmer’s Market- food from your neighborhood getting to your table!

For more information on what is in season this week, reach Garden Team Member Erika at erikaa@prcc-chgo.org or (773) 850-2467.
This Sunday, one of the Farmers’ Market regulars asked a garden team member, which ones  we grew. After pointing to the cilantro, remaining beets and lettuce heads, he took the bulk of the beets before moving on to pick from other produce. Support for neighborhood- grown food is about using bring food as close to you as possible. Healthy communities are about having healthy choices right around the corner.

 

Another regular, in comparing Mural Garden Market with Logan Square, said she appreciated having great produce right across the street from her home. Whether greeting neighbors with a good morning or “buen dia”, the Farmers’ Market team privileges being able to work on growing the food local residents request and encouraging healthier alternatives.

 

Each weekend, the Garden Team brings over 180 lbs of produce and herbs right into the neighborhood. With continued regulars and greater supporters, the Garden Team will work to bring more diverse choices to residents looking to eat healthier, decrease their carbon footprint, and support efforts.

 

Please call or email Erika, erikaa@prcc-chgo.org or 773-850 2467 for more information on how you can help or how you can bring the food you grow right into our market.

2nd Week of El Conuco and Mural Garden Farmer’s Market Marked by Excellent Growth

By Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center
This past Sunday, at the Mural Garden Farmer’s Market, PRCC garden team member Christian Roldán asked a resident what he would like to see at the market. After listing asparagus, and mushrooms among other vegetables, the man also said he wanted cilantro. Christian walked him over to the Mural Garden’s beds and picked a bunch for him. Our commitment to providing quality products from the state, as well as from our own community, keeps us growing.

This weekend, between the start of the Conuco’s Farmer’s Market on the corner of California and Division and our second weekend at the Mural Garden, profits tripled.  The more the market earns, the more vendors will be able to provide to local residents. Improving access to locally grown produce that are seen in our homes, the garden team hopes to be able to continue to fulfill the requests of local residents. But, like any farmer entrusting our bounty to the elements, what we provide each week will be based on what the season and weather permits.

Given increasing demand for diversity as well as for the quality non-GMO, untreated produce our greenhouses, and local gardens continue to produce, volunteers will be needed to harvest our greens, berries and herbs.  For more information, please contacterikaa@prcc-chgo.org.

El Conuco Farmer’s Market Off to Healthy Start

By Erika Abad, Puerto Rican Cultural Center

On Sunday, June 21st, PRCC held its first Farmer’s Market of the season. Initially, not much success was expected the first go around. We started out small given that there was little publicity. Luckily, it was Father’s Day and with great weather, we made a small profit. A local musical performance drew neighbors who engaged with management about our goals; they were invited to participate if they had food to sell/donate.

Staff handed out fliers to passersby in cars. In that way, the sample sofrito jars that were made, were all sold to one person. Within an hour, those who had preordered arrived and pre-requested sofrito–the day ended with over 20 pre-ordered Sofrito jars, a promising start for next Sunday. New residents who explored the neighborhood were excited about the possibility of a farmer’s market down their street. Those on their way to the gym appreciated the proximity of locally grown food so close to home.

Many Puerto Ricans here have a grandparent or another ancestor. The jibarito songs from earlier generations stress the significance of harvesting food to feed families.

DSBDA is working with local growers so our market could supply all varieties of fruits and vegetables. This is the year we want to make the Farmer’s Market self-sustaining, as we expand the variety of food we provide as well as the critical lessons of growing our culturally specific foods for ourselves.

Join us next week as local artists display their work while we sell in season locally grown, all natural food.